This afternoon, the twins, Alex and Adam, went to see the twins, Felonious and Dru! The movie was Despicable Me 3, where Felonious (known simply his last name, “Gru”) discovers his long-lost twin brother, Dru. The fact that they were twins was not lost on Alex and Adam, either! They thought it was pretty cool to have something in common with the Gru twins.

Despicable

Of course, they had to get pictures with Gru in his cool villain car…

Villain

Villain

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This weekend, Cindy took the boys to visit big sister Jessica in Alabama. They’ve been wanting to see “Baby Oliver” and Carter John and their new puppy, Cooper! Today the took a trip to Birmingham to visit the McWane Science Center and Cindy got a picture of all the boys. How she got them to sit still to do it, I’ll never know!

McWane Science Center

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Happy Father’s Day to me. Today I received the great hand-made cards from the boys. Evidently, they made them in school before school let out for the summer. They’re pretty cool and the boys have printed words on the tie that describe me. There are funny words like, “hairy” and “goofy,” 🙂 and serious words like, “caring” and “honest,” and, interestingly enough, they both seem to agree that I’m “nice” and “amazing”. Pretty cool. It’s great being a Dad!

Father's Day Card

I also got a Amazon Echo (a.k.a. An NSA Listening Device). It’s a neat little gadget and can do all kinds of things, like control your smart tech devices (television, thermostat, phone), research questions on the Internet, make lists, tell you the news, read audiobooks, and play music from several services, like Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Sirius/XM. I also now have access to Amazon’s entire music library, so can play entire albums.

Amazon Echo

The boys enjoy asking “Alexa” to play songs…not so much to listen to the songs, I’ve discovered, but just to see if Alexa can play it.

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It’s the last day of our mini-vacation and what better place to spend it than at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? On the ride into the park the tram director commented, “It’s a jungle, not a zoo”, which captured a chuckle from the crowd.

Animal Kingdom Entrance

The photographer liked Alex’s Sorcerer Mickey hat and wanted to draw some attention to it…

Animal Kingdom Entrance

The first order of business today was a visit to Africa…

Africa

We were waiting for the “Festival of the Lion King” show and spotted this drum-beating native on stilts, who talked to the boys as he passed…

African Musician African Musician

After the Lion King show, we made our way to the Animal Kingdom’s new exhibit, Pandora – The World of Avatar…

Pandora

Complete with the Ayram alusìng (a.k.a. floating mountains)…

Pandora Floating Mountain

and an AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform)…

AMP AMP and boys

and who could visit Pandora without sampling the local cuisine?

Pandora Lunch

Mmmm…

Pandora Lunch

One the way out, the boys and I stopped for a photo outside one of the Resources Development Administration’s buildings…

RDA Building

and Alex posed for a visitor pass…

Visitor Pass

We had a good time in Pandora, but we had a Safari to get to in Africa, so we left behind the mythical land of Avatar and headed back to Africa. Soon we were on the truck and off into the jungles of Tanzania on our Kilimanjaro Safari…

Kilimanjaro Safari

It’s always fun visiting the animals, like the hippos enjoying a swim and the giraffe’s resting on the Savanna…

Hippo under water Giraffe resting on Savanna

By the time the safari ended, it was clouding up and getting ready to storm. We had one more ride we wanted to get to today: The Expedition Everest roller coaster.

Expedition Everest

Well, me and Adam, anyway, as Alex and Mom aren’t too fond of the roller coasters. Anyway, we took off to Asia, while mom and Alex were off to Discovery Island to the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” show. We had a few minutes before our FastPass kicked-in, so Adam and I took in the sights…

Adam at Expedition Everest

Soon, it started to rain, so we donned our ponchos and got in line for Everest. Although the rain wasn’t too bad, the thunder was loud and lightening in the area caused them to shut-down the ride as we were just about to board the roller coaster! Adam and I hung-out for almost 30-minutes when a break in the storm allowed the ride to open-up again. Whoo hoo…

Expedition Everest

After three or four groups had gone, the lightening caused them to close the ride again and it wouldn’t reopen for the rest of the day. Whew! We barely made it!! By this time, the rain had let-up a bit and we made our way to the exit.

Exit

This evening, we dined at the Disney Polynesian Restaurant and watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach on Seven Seas Lagoon. What a great time!

Polynesian Restaurant

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Storms are in the forecast today, so we make a short day of our visit to the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, otherwise known as EPCOT. The nice thing about having annual passes to Disney is you don’t feel like you have to get in as much “fun” as you can while you’re here. After all with a day pass, once the day is over, so is your fun. We’ll often visit one of the parks for just a few hours, then spend the rest of the day at the pool or doing some other activity. We love the flexibility it brings.

Anyway, we slept in a bit this morning, but the weather was pretty nice, so here we are…

Adam at EPCOT Alex at EPCOT

There’s a new “Frozen Ever After” ride in Norway in the world showcase we wanted to experience. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get FastPassed, so I waited in line while Cindy took the boys on something else. The wait was almost an hour, and Cindy and the boys arrived just in time to get on the ancient Norwegian boat for the ride through Arendelle (which essentially was a Fast Pass for them, right–Dad, the physical Fast Pass).

The ride was interesting (and fun) and wasn’t your typical Disney animatronics…

Anna and Elsa

Alex at EPCOT

When the ride was over, the boys wanted to go again, but I wasn’t up to waiting another hour in line (Dad-as-Fast-Pass duty gets old pretty quickly). So, we had lunch in China (next to Norway, of course) and then toured the World Showcase for a bit. It was clouding up by this time and the thunder was rumbling. We decided to make our way to the exit before the storm made it to the park.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing games in the hotel room. This evening, we had a great dinner at Delmonico’s, where the inside of the men’s bathroom door says, “Women”, which momentarily threw me for a loop!

Delmonico's

HA!

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So, it’s Day 2 of our long Disney weekend and today we took in one of the water parks: Typhoon Lagoon…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

We’ve never taken advantage of Disney’s water parks before, so this year I included them in our annual passes. I’m glad I did because we had a blast! That was, of course, after we were through taking pictures…

Entering Typhoon Lagoon Entering Typhoon Lagoon

and a couple more…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

One with a frame…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

And finally, the FISH HEAD…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

So, we F-I-N-A-L-L-Y get to the beach and set-up our chairs…

Chairs

then we hit the pool…and not just ANY pool, it’s one of the world’s largest outdoor wave pools! It actually knocked me down and carried me several feet! We LOVED it!

Boys at Typhoon Lagoon Typhoon Lagoon

Mom and Alex

Dad and the boys

There were also several waterslides, one was family sized and we all road in it together. Alex was especially fond of this one…he liked it so much we had to ride it twice!

Big Raft

We actually closed-down the water park!

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Summer is in full-swing, so that means (at least) a couple of trips to one of our favorite place on Earth: Disney World. So, we arrived at our Hilton Grand Vacations resort about 3:00 this afternoon, unpacked, and hopped back in the family truckster to head over to the Magic Kingdom.

Given that we were arriving late in the day, there wasn’t the huge crowd of people entering the park, which made for a smooth and rapid entry to Main Street!

Family at Magic Kingdom

The boys even got to meet on of the famous Disney celebrities on the way in, and Adam, as usual, isn’t thrilled about having to stop for pictures…

The Boys and Tink

We had a couple of Fast Passes this evening…the first one is split between Space Mountain for me and Adam and the Buzz Lightyear ride for mom and Alex (since mom and Alex don’t really care for Space Mountain)…

Next to the People Mover, this is probably Alex’s favorite!

Buzz Ride

While Adam is the roller coaster king (and his dad is the jester :-))

Space Mountain

We also had a passes to The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, which lately have been hard to get! The last couple of times we’ve visited the Magic Kingdom, we were unable to get Fast Passes for this ride. Alex was very disappointed during our last visit because we couldn’t ride, you’d think he’d have been thrilled this time! Well, he was until we got ready to board, then he had second thoughts. He still went, but he wasn’t too happy…

The Mine Train

The fireworks started just as we got on the Mine Train and it was really cool watching them from that vantage point! After it was over, Adam naturally wanted to go on again, while Alex said he’d had enough! So, we just sat back and watched the fireworks over Beast’s castle…

Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks

It was a GREAT show!

Fireworks

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The weather was very nice today, so nice that the boys and I decided to hit the ball field for some fundamentals. The field was a little damp after a couple days of rain, but not too bad.

Baseball Practice

We worked on fielding mostly, but got in some batting practice, too, and some pitching and catching for Adam. After a nice work-out on the field, we went to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants: Gator’s Dockside. The food is great and we like to sit outside and watch baseball (or football or racing, etc.) on the big screen TVs.

Gator's Dockside

We had a blast! (as always 🙂 )

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Summer is almost here, so time for some cooler (as in temperature) haircuts. Adam normally keeps his hair short, but Alex likes his hair longer (this time it was just about to his shoulders). Anyway, surprisingly, Alex opted for a nice conservative haircut, while Adam went with a flattop.

Alex short hair Adam's flattop

Handsome boys! And Adam looks a little like Howie Long.

Haircuts

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Another reason for the family trip to SW Florida was so we could present this shadowbox to my father-in-law for his birthday. He served 20-years in the US Air Force, but he didn’t have ANY reminders of his service, they being lost to the passage of time. All he had were some papers in a briefcase he kept in his closet. Fortunately, one of those papers was his DD214, which contained most of the of the information needed to construct the shadowbox, and short conversation provided the rest.

Happy Birthday, “Poppy”…and thanks for your service!

Shadowbox

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